While the Mechanical Timer was an improvement on the Padman Pneumatic automation system, they were a bit limited with their use as they could both only be set for one event; to release the door to begin irrigation.
John recognised the importance of setting ‘Dual Times’. The EDT was programmed to set both the time to open the outlet and the time to close it.
The original EDT’s used gas struts to improve the strength of the arms before integrating Linak actuators that were used for actually designed for lifting hospital beds!
The functionality sounds simple, but the Electronic Dual Timer has improved the lifestyle of hundreds of farmers in the past 25 years allowing them to perform irrigation changeovers in multiple bays with multiple units while they sleep.
With over 8000 units sold and many of these still operating, the EDT built a reputation as the most reliable automation on the market based on their simplicity and portability.
It is still a thrill to hear a farmer praise these work horses as they upgrade a battery or tune up their units after working hard for 20+ Aussie summers.
Advances in technology and demands for increased functionality have lead them to be superseded by our AutoWinch series.
With a rice growing region nearby in southern NSW, it was only a matter of time until we looked for ways to develop structures suited to improving their irrigation methods.
The R4 & R7 Rice Headwalls functionality evolved from the ability to add boards in the grooves, to aluminium slide doors to 100% Watertight rubber flap doors with options for automation.
These were very popular and we supplied thousands per year until the millennium drought hit and slowed the industry down.
After operating as Precision Irrigation for four years, the business name was changed to Padman Stops.
With other companies operating as Precision Irrigation anyway and our customers calling our products “Padman’s” anyway, it made sense.
But why ‘Stops’? Well, there are lots of local terms for irrigation structures around the country; weirs, gates, outlets, stops… and we’re happy to represent with our local terminology.
While pneumatic automation was effective, it didn’t suit every application and required additional materials and works so John set about developing a new automation unit operating on time.
The Padman Mechanical Timer was essentially a big, rugged egg timer that would countdown to your designated watering time and trigger the door release.
With several Padman Stops irrigation outlet options now available to his growing network, product requests began coming through to add some of that Padman design and functionality to Pipe Ends.
Taking into consideration different pipe sizes, erosion issues and the ability to automate, John came up with different Pipe End molds catering to these needs and remains one of our core products.
The first collection of products were called the ‘A Series’, with a door depth of 300mm, which is shallow by today’s standards.
The numerals on the products represent how many (approx.) feet wide the door is, as it still does today. The A1 (300mm), A2, A3 and the widest door at the time the A4 (1200mm).
There was no need for walkways as we know them today and chains were used to open and close the rubber flap door.
For over 50 years, the Elmore Field Days has served as the meeting place each year for farmers from northern Victoria and southern NSW. As a farmer, John had attended the Field Day and many others, but 1990 was the first time he went as an exhibitor.
He was eager to see what his fellow farmers thought of his 100% watertight door and was elated to be awarded the ‘Most innovative new product award winner’ run by the Stock & Land newspaper.
Padman Stops haven’t missed an Elmore Field Days since and have included many others as we find them a great opportunity to talk to our customers, not so much to sell, but to get feedback on how we can serve them better.
This approach has been the key to our longevity, as if John had have only focused on producing that product, Padman Stops would have been out of business years ago!
With the first Padman watertight door, John set out to make a good thing great with automation.
Years before telemetry or the common usage of electronics in the field, John developed a pneumatic automation system that could open the Padman watertight door.
An airline was run the length of the field and when the water reached the opening, the increased air pressure in the line triggered the door release mechanism.
Whilst working on the family dairy farm, John continually battled flood irrigation gates that leaked with difficult manual operation and knew there must be a better way.
With the shed set up and time dedicated to product development, the ‘Padman Stop’ was born.
The original ‘Padman Stop’ was a precast concrete structure with a hinged door and rubber flap to seal it, and make the outlet completely watertight.
More products followed this initial success, and the rest, as they say, is history.
With his structures improving his own farm, it wasn’t long until the bush telegraph had John pouring structures for other farmers throughout the district.
In 1989, John moved his family from the farm over the NSW border to a few acres on the outskirts of Strathmerton to develop his irrigation ideas further into commercial products.
The business was named ‘Precision Irrigation’ and John focused on Irrigation outlets and played around with automation which were sold to predominately dairy farmers throughout northern Vic and southern NSW.
John grew up on a dairy farm so was well versed in the challenges of farming from an early age. Long hours, muddy fields and tricky, manually operated equipment were always a constant battle.
While working on the farm, John found himself in the shed more and more developing solutions to make farming more manageable.
His focus at this time was on watertight irrigation outlets with an interest in automation. During this period, John also invented his own ‘automatic teat cup remover’ for the dairy amongst other inventions to make farming a bit easier. A philosophy he has continued throughout his career.